New research, published last Saturday by the Parent-Infant Foundation, shows significant gaps in mental health provision for babies and toddlers.

The findings, from a survey of nearly 300 NHS children and young people’s mental health professionals, also show significant gaps in knowledge, experience and confidence across the workforce. 

Key findings include:

  • Only 36% of respondents reported that, within children and young people’s mental health services in their area, there are mental health services that can work effectively with babies and toddlers aged 0-2.
  • Only 52% of respondents said their local NHS children and young people’s mental health service took referrals for children aged two and under. Many of these respondents told us that, while this was the referral criteria on paper, in reality, the service was not working with young children.
  • Only 9% of respondents felt there was “sufficient provision available for babies and toddlers whose mental health was at risk” in their area.
  • During their pre-qualification training, 26% of respondents had not been trained to work with 0–2-year-olds. 48% had not had experience of working with this age group during their training.

To ensure that ALL children across the UK can access appropriate mental health provision, if and when they need it, there is a collective call for:

  1. Policy and investment from national governments to increase the provision of infant mental health services.
  2. A drive within the NHS to hold commissioners and providers to account for offering a truly 0-25 mental health service.
  3. A workforce development strategy to ensure there are trained professionals with the specialised skills required to deliver these critical services.

Take the #IncludingInfants Pledge

As part of #IMHAW21, there is a call for everyone to adopt the language of “infant, children and young people’s mental health”.

Children and young people’s mental health should describe the mental health of all children from 0-18 and beyond, but often the needs of babies and toddlers under two get forgotten.

Changing our language to talk about “infant, children and young people’s mental health” is a simple but powerful way to drive change.

We believe that small changes in language could catalyse wider changes in attitudes, understanding and eventually in policy and service provision.

Through making this pledge, you are committing to talk about “infant, children and and young people’s mental health” wherever appropriate and to include infants in more of your discussions, thinking and action to improve children’s mental health.

To find out more and take the pledge go to:

If you take the pledge you will receive some exclusive social media assets which you can share in your work space or via your social media to show your commitment.

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (#IMHAW21) is nearly here. The Parent-Infant Foundation (PIF) is planning lots of activity for the week, and we hope you are too!

The theme for #IMHAW21 is #IncludingInfants in children and young people’s mental health.

We will be encouraging everyone working in children and young people’s mental health policies, strategies and services to think about and include babies.


PIF has launched the first version of the calendar of events for the week. They will keep updating this over the coming weeks. If you’re running something that you’d like to be on the calendar please email [email protected].

The logos for the week are also now available for you to download and use on your materials.

Please watch the PIF website for updates on the week.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Conception to Age Two is meeting on 8 June from 9:30-11am.

This meeting will focus on local variation in the provision of services for babies and their families across England, and how this might be addressed through current reforms.

To join the meeting live, book a place here. The event will also be livestreamed and recorded to watch later.

iHV is delighted to support Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (#IMHAW19) organised by the Association for Infant Mental health UK (AIMH).

IMHAW19 runs from Monday 10 June to Friday 14 June – and the topic this year is “Difficult Beginnings”. Each day of the week has themes and AIMH will be releasing relevant articles each day throughout the week to include:

  • Day 1: Difficult Beginnings: Pregnancy
    • Finding out your baby has a genetic disorder. How that impacts Parental Foetal Attachment in pregnancy and beyond. 
  • Day 2: Difficult Beginnings: Birth
    • How a traumatic or difficult birth impacts the baby and parent-infant relationship. 
  • Day 3: Difficult Beginnings: After Birth
    • How the baby and parent-infant relationship is impacted by a stay in SCBU/NICU.
  • Day 4: Difficult Beginning: First Few Months
    • When previous losses get in the way of the parent-infant attachment. 
  • Day 5: Difficult Beginnings: Getting Some Help
    • If things aren’t going well in pregnancy or following the birth of the baby, it is important for parents to seek help.

In support of the theme of the first day, we are pleased to reshare information on one of our current mental health research projects –  Improving the Delivery of Different News to Families by Healthcare Professionals.

About the research project

The term “different news” is to describe the process of imparting and receiving sad, bad or difficult information relating to a foetus or neonate. Being told different news is a life changing event for parents – potentially triggering perinatal mental illness and more. How parents are told is critical as it can determine how they cope and adjust in response to the news. The delivery of different news is necessary part of healthcare practice. Many practitioners receive little formal training on how to tell parents different news.

To improve the delivery of different news we are conducting research to develop a training programme for healthcare professionals.

This is being conducted over two phases. For the first phase, we collected the experiences of parents who have received different news relating to their child and also took healthcare professionals’ experiences of delivering this news to parents. These experiences are being used to inform the training programme to improve the delivery of different news.




At the start of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, the iHV is delighted to support the launch of PIP UK’s report “Rare Jewels” on Specialised parent-infant relationship teams in the UK – published today, Monday 10 June 2019, at the APPG Conception to Age Two meeting in Parliament.

iHV Director, Dr Cheryll Adams, at launch of PIP UK’s Rare Jewels report at the APPG Conception to Age Two in Parliament

Alongside its focus on specialised teams, the report highlights the important role health visitors play in enabling good IMH:

“Health visitors play an important role in promoting parent-infant relationships as they have the opportunity to work with every family during this important period”.  

“Nice Guidance for postnatal care states that assessment for emotional attachment should be carried out at each postnatal contact and home visits should be used as an opportunity to promote parent- or mother-to-baby emotional attachment”. 

We are particularly pleased to see the value of specialist IMH health acknowledged. We look forward to strengthening this when we publish the findings from our own recent iHV survey into Infant Mental Health later this week.

The report, ‘Rare Jewels’, highlights the shocking lack of mental health provision for children aged 2 and under with data suggesting that 42% of Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas in England CAMHS services will not accept referrals for children aged 2 and under.

The report makes several recommendations for local and national decision makers about how they could support the development of specialised provision. These include:

  • Collecting data disaggregated by age to ensure services are accessible to, and accessed by, children of all ages.
  • Ensuring there is clear accountability at a national and local level for commissioning mental health services to meet the needs of all children.
  • Creating a ringfenced transformation budget to support local investment in services for the first 1001 days of life.
  • Setting out clear implementation plans for how commitments to improve mental health provision will be realised for all children, including those 2 and under.

Governments across the UK have made commitments to increase early intervention, to improve children’s mental health and to close inequalities in outcomes.

The iHV supports this report’s call for them to provide focused and determined leadership and the investment required to translate their commitments into a reality to give every baby the best start in life.

Please do share the report with your networks and on any social media platforms using the hashtags #rarejewels #IMHAW19 #healthvisitors #infantmentalhealth.  Please do also link to us using the handle @iHealthVisiting and @earlypotential

The iHV is delighted to support Infant Mental Health (IMH) Awareness Week 2019 (10 – 14 June).

As part of the Week, the Institute will be publishing a report on the role of the Health Visitor and IMH.

We need your help! It would be fantastic if you would join forces with us on this report by completing this short survey.

We anticipate that the survey will allow us to better:

  • Understand the current context of health visiting practice in supporting good IMH
  • Influence strategic direction to support good IMH

The survey questions have been created based on the:

We are sending this request out to as many health visitors as possible to get as large as response as we can to support this report. We would like as many as possible to complete the survey – we would really appreciate it if you could complete the survey, share it and encourage other health visitors to complete it too!

The survey will close on 5 June – please create some time now so that your voice can be heard!

It’s here!

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (#IMHAW18) takes this week from Monday June 11 to Friday 15 June, and will focus on promoting “The Importance of Attachment”.

The Association for Infant Mental Health (AIMH) is keen to highlight the work around infant mental health during the week – so please contact [email protected] and tell them what you are doing to contribute to Infant Mental Health Awareness Week through activities; discussions and communications with parents and children – any information to showcase your work within this area.

Please click here to see all the national events taking place this week in support of #IMHAW18.

Please click here to see AIMH’s programme of activities for the week.

The Twitter hashtag for the week is #IMHAW18 – so do follow the week’s activity online.

Today’s #HVWeek topic: Maternal and Infant Mental health – a government priority.

What local initiatives have been developed? How do you raise its profile so that families are more easily able to speak out?

Welcome to Day 4 of national #HVweek

Today’s practice theme focuses on maternal and infant mental health – subjects very close to us here at the Institute. We know that:

  • Mental health problems in the perinatal period effect 1 in 5 women
  • New fathers’ depression rates are double the national average for men in the same age group
  • 122,000 babies under one are living with a parent who has a mental illness
  • The mental health of parents in the perinatal period can have long-term effects on the infant, especially in relation to their later emotional and behavioural development

Please do continue to tweet and send us your contributions this week – we would love to hear about perinatal and infant mental health initiatives in your community and showcase the fantastic work by health visitors out there.

We have a wealth of resources and materials to share with you below, to support you to work with confidence alongside families perinatally, providing evidence-based care underpinned by the growing number of local care pathways for perinatal and infant mental health.


Since 2015, we have trained 550 HV Perinatal Mental Health Champions, and almost 300 HV Infant Mental Health Champions. More recently, we have extended our training to multi-agency audiences (with in excess of another 400 multi-agency PMH and PIMH Champions trained) in recognition of the seamless and integrated working required to support women and their families perinatally for good outcomes.

We are about to launch our new Fathers and PMH training course – so do keep an eye out for it!


Based on our Champions training, our e-learning modules are designed to build on the theoretical underpinning that you use in practice, whilst refreshing and updating your practice.  Why not complete a module today?

Good Practice Points (for members only)

If you are a member, why not access our Good Practice Points (GPP) around mental health and wellbeing?


For those short of time, our videos are excellent, easy-view, short clips from national experts: Dr Jane Hanley on Maternal Mental Health; Dr Liz MacDonald-Clifford on Post-partum Psychosis


Parent Tips

We have a selection of top tips for parents on perinatal and infant mental health which we encourage you to share with your families:

Please note that some of these resources are available to iHV members only.

Many of the products highlighted will be those that are freely accessible on our website to non-members. However, as a not-for-profit organisation we are reliant on our members to contribute and to support us in our journey supporting you.

Remember, if you do like what you see and you would like to access the full range of resources you can join us as an Associate member or Friend for just £6.50 a month. Your subscriptions for professional membership will attract tax relief as the iHV is now HMRC approved. As a basic rate tax payer, this could mean relief of over £15 a year on your annual subscription.

So do join us now!

button small_200

PIPUK is pleased to announce that it is now accepting submissions for the UK Infant Mental Health Awards, presented in honour of its 2nd National Week on Infant Mental Health, 12-16 June 2017.

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 logo

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 logo

Submission forms for the six award categories are now available – Nominations must be received by midnight 20 May 2017.

The theme for this year’s infant mental health awareness week is ‘Begin Before Birth’ to highlight the importance of giving every baby the best possible start in life beginning in pregnancy. They are,  therefore, in particular seeking nominations from individuals, projects and organisations who are focused on pregnancy as a window of change for life chances.

The categories for the Award Ceremony are as follows:

  1. Andrea Leadsom Award for Outstanding contribution to the field of Infant Mental Health: For an exceptional, and inspirational individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Infant Mental Health nationally.
  1. Analeaf Award for Infant Mental Health Services: For an exceptional Infant Mental Health service provider, who has demonstrated positive practice, and has improved outcomes for both children and, their families.
  1. Infant Mental Health Practitioner: For an exceptional Infant Mental Health practitioner who is innovative in his/her approach to the field of Infant Mental Health, and who continually delivers above, and beyond what is expected.
  1. Locality Award for Infant Mental Health Inclusion: For a Locality / or Trust that has developed an integrated, and inclusive Infant Mental Health service to improve the lives of vulnerable infants, toddlers, and their families.
  1. Infant Mental Health Researcher: For an individual researcher who has made a unique contribution to the growing body of knowledge thorough their research in the field of Infant Mental Health.
  1. People’s Choice Award: Nominations for this award will be made by an individual who has received support and / or treatment from an Infant Mental Health service provider they believe to be of exceptional quality, resulting in a positive experience, and improved wellbeing for their baby, toddler and/or family.

The awards are a key part of the 2nd Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (12-16 June 2017), accompanied by an exciting calendar of events with over 200 partner organisations participating which, in our inaugural year, saw a reach of ten million people engaged. The award will recognise excellence in the field of Infant Mental Health, and showcase examples of best practice, and research.

Nominations close on 20th May 2017.  Nominations will not be received after this date to ensure a fair process and will be facilitated by a selection panel.

An exciting and unique development opportunity has arisen with the Institute – Professional Development Officer, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, South of England.

The iHV is seeking to appoint a part-time (2 days a week) health visitor expert in perinatal and infant mental health to work with them supporting training and various other related projects, as well as covering some national meetings.

The post holder, who will have a Masters’ degree, will be based in the south and will be prepared to travel within the post. They will ideally be an iHV infant and perinatal mental health champion, have broad experience in these fields, with additional research experience and/or iHV Fellowship an advantage.

Applications close: 5pm on Friday, 10 March 2017

Interviews: Friday, 17 March 2017

Following a number of requests, we are thrilled to announce a further opportunity to train as an Infant Mental Health Champion with a leading expert in the field – Dr Angela Underdown. Underpinning the mental health and wellbeing of babies remains a huge public health priority and a key aspect of health visiting practice.

Our two-day Champions programme equips you to support colleagues to think about transitions to parenthood, building relationships (parental bonding, infant attachment and contingent responses to infant initiatives), infant observation and “baby states”, and using parallel process to model the principles of attunement.

Dates: Monday 7  and Tuesday 8 November 2016

Location: Stratford-upon-Avon

Fees (no VAT payable)
  • £275 for two-day course (early bird £250)
  • includes Trainer pack resources but excludes accommodation

Book before 30 September 2016 to take advantage of our early bird rate.  Places are limited and on a first come, first served basis.  Book now!!

Contact [email protected] to book your place.

Don’t take our word for it – see our feedback!

“Gives me the opportunity to help parents to better understand their baby’s needs and how to respond appropriately. Very useful.”

“This is an excellent course – really well planned and delivered using a variety of interesting, appropriate teaching methods. I feel it has extended my knowledge and provided relevant, practical ways of applying theory to practice. I am keen to share my learning with my colleagues, thank you.”

“Great opportunity to reflect on current practice and to learn new skills, knowledge and theories/ research.”

“The pack is excellent and I feel confident to use it for training immediately.”

Contact [email protected] now to book your place.